Easy Should Be Easy

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I hear a lot about how games should be harder, but how they should be easier...?

I think vista was meant to be user-friendly, look how that turned out.

I think games are easier now then they have ever been, if people aren't willing to find out how to do something then obviously they won't be able to. I don't think we should pat them on the head and say "oooh, I'm sure you tried your bestest, let's just pretend you beat this segment!"

Nutcase:
Depth in a game means there is more to the game after you have learned the surface; it is not easily exhausted; you can keep getting better and better at it. Replacing the game with a simpler game is to remove the depth.

Perhaps, but there is a very fine line bwteeen the kind of depth you describe and impenetrability for complete newbies. And what if someone wanted to pick up and play a game, experience all of it, and then stop? Sure, if you discover that you want to hone your skills, you can switch to a normal mode, but if you just want a bit of high quality entertainment? And, I hasten to add, high quality and accessiblity are should not be mutually exclusive.

And why do these people not start from a simpler game which has a lower number of main elements to keep track of, such as Doom? Such as Serious Sam?

Yes, they could do this. Or why not have a normal game with a mode that serves as a constant gradual introduction? With hints/help/etc as intrusive as you want them to be? I know games have tutorial modes. Whny not extend the experience to the whole game, perhaps becoming proigressively less obtrusive as the player gains in skill, but always there without having to go check a guide/forum/wiki on the best way to do something? I also know that this is, development-wise, a practical impossibility at the moment. But it's an interesting concept, I think.

This is 100% wrong. It is not exactly the same game when you have eviscerated the complexity, the pacing and the difficulty; it's a different game sharing the graphics and sound of game #1.

Is it always? I apreciate that some games would lend themselves to this kind of thing more than others, but implementing a rookie mode doesn't have to detract from the story, the graphics, the sound, the mechanics or the pace - it just has provide these elements in a context supportive to new players, who are there to have a good time. I don't happen to think of compulsory difficulty and impenetrability are particularly attractive traits in a game. They should be there if you want them, in a Hard Mode. And for new people, these thresholds may be lower, so you might want a rookie mode.

I do not want idiot games for anyone. I want people to play simple, easy - but non-coddling - good games. Knowing they surpassed whatever limited challenge in there still gives them a genuine sense of achievement and opens up more challenging games. I don't want them to play a watered down parody of a good game, be even more confused by all the training wheel functionality piled on top, and get the plot/environment/etc of the real game spoiled for them in case they'd like to play it at some point.

First of all, a 'rookie' mode doesn't have to coddle you. It just has to give you a leg up a bit more often, or a few more suggestions. Secondly, how does Cooking Mama prepare you for Gears of War? You have to play a lot of games before you can literally just pick up any game and play it. Wouldn't it be nice for new people not to have to go through all the 'preparatory' games, if they just want to play a big new title? Thirdly, wouldn't you ge the same sense of achievement, if you wanted it, from playing rookie to get into the thing, then going and beating every other mode? What if the player isn't doing it for a Sense Of Achievement, but rather wants to play a game, fight all the bosses, and live to see the end credits without getting bogged down in the annoyingly difficult sections that inevitably exist in every game. And that's not to say a rookie mode should present no challenge whatsoever, it should simply not present head+wall frustration.

If you aspire to be better than you are now, you are an elitist. If you prefer the opinion of someone who knows what they are talking about, instead of one who knows nothing, you are an elitist. You can either be elitist, or stupid.

Oh dear! Extreme polarity of opinion isn't a good sign either...perhaps what you say about elitism is true. Another thing that's true of elitists is that they take the same view that you do here - that everyone who is not like them is a lesser being. Which is just bad.

What you and Susan are rooting for is the equivalent of a publisher including a Simple English and pictorial translation into every poetry book so that everyone can "experience" the poetry without being able to read, or a brewery offering their award-winning strong-tasting bitter mixed with tasteless lager so that everyone can "experience" the bitter despite not being able to handle its taste.

[quote]That's actually hiding the experience from the newbies, not a shortcut to it, and fundamentally newbie-hostile.

Snappy soundbite...but it's wrong. You're not hiding anything from anyone. If you select 'rookie' mode from a screen that also lists, say, 'Average', 'Tricky' and 'Chaos', you know exactly what you're doing, and that there are other ways to experience the game - which, if you feel so inclined, you can go and play through. There need be no ambiguity. However, if you're totally new, and you select 'Normal' and get completely blown out of the water, you can go back and give yourself an easier, probably more entertaining and enjoyable time by playing Rookie first. And tell me, who didn't start in life with illustrated books?

I miss the days when "Easy" meant you could only play the first 3 levels before the game would end, then tell you to play on Normal or hard.

Othello. A minute to learn, a lifetime to master.

I agree with this article, I was thrown back into the realms of newbie gamer when I played my first ever round of street fighter against a friend. Every couple of seconds I'd have to ask 'how do I jump/block/do a special attack/what's a shoryuken/etc'
Not a great example perhaps, it's a complicated genre but the fact is when something's completely new and there's a lot suddenly going on at once it's more than easy to get lost.

Games in my opinion should be flexible enough that you can play them and enjoy them whether it's your first ever game or if you're a professional gamer that's put more hours into gaming than they have into sleep for the past umpteen years.
It makes perfect sense for games to be like this as it generates the largest possible market, meaning more money to developers.
There is a problem in implementation of 'easy' in games, especially ones which already have a fanbase where simplification risks insults the 'elite' who just want the games to be harder and screw everyone who can't cope (any sequels trying to make things easier/simpler than the original are likely doomed to hatred by these people)

Optional tutorials are usually a good idea, being forced to do them is a chore when you know what to do.
A perfect tutorial to me is one that not only covers everything you NEED to know, and several things you don't NEED to know but are handy anyway, but also one that is fun itself.

http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/56701

This. Isn't this what you guys have been asking for in this thread? A way for the game to be frigging stupid hard yet allow people who need the help to see how it's done?

Personally, I tend to agree with Void - I like hard games. I recently played through both S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games and I'm eagerly (what's a more emphatic word than eagerly that means "I will tear into this game with all the fury of a rabid wolf pack attacking a rabbit farm."?) awaiting Call of Pripyat. Gaming is not exactly a intuitive thing - you've got to hook all these wires up to the TV, then figure out what all the buttons do, and we haven't even gotten into deciding what kinds of games to play yet! Most of the people in this thread are gamers and we know these things. We found that one game that got us interested, that first hit that got us hooked, because we were curious and it looked fun and it WAS fun, and we got to playing it and learned things by trial and error. And then we picked up another interesting game, and another, and each of these games built up our knowledge of game theory, in that we understood instinctively that we're supposed to press the buttons to get effects and so on, and then we're gamers.

Making that barrier of see/do/learn less complex to newcomers into gaming wouldn't be a bad thing. But trying to remove it totally is actually counterproductive. There's two ways to learn something, and people tend to gravitate towards one of those two ways - seeing it done, doing it yourself, being 'hands-on' with the materials, and picking it up that way. The other is having the situation described to you by a knowledgeable teacher who can educate you on the subject. We have a lot of the first in gaming, and not as much in the second - at least, not for the casual gamer. There's discussion boards and videos and even classes about how to play video games, even specific video games (Starcraft 101, anyone?) but the normal beginning player has no idea where to find this stuff. Which brings us back around to Nintendo's patent and the point of this article and my post. Something like that would be useful for the people who want or need that level of hand-holding but still allow the designers to make a good, hard game, and give the rest of us the challenge we crave.

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:
You asked if we want games to be enjoyed by a wide variety of people.

I don't :\

Ok, I have to ask: why not?

I mean it seems alot of people in the gaming community are focused on "spreading" gaming. I just think the people it appeals too with naturally gravitate towards it. Video games have been around in some form for nearly 40 years, I think most people know what it contains. Not everybody will like everything.

Fredrick2003:

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:
You asked if we want games to be enjoyed by a wide variety of people.

I don't :\

Ok, I have to ask: why not?

I mean it seems alot of people in the gaming community are focused on "spreading" gaming. I just think the people it appeals too with naturally gravitate towards it. Video games have been around in some form for nearly 40 years, I think most people know what it contains. Not everybody will like everything.

Which doesn't explain why you don't want more people playing games.

Here's the thing -- there are people who are now becoming interested in games who simply never were before. Maybe it's because they simply didn't have much exposure to them, maybe it's because they were busy with other things, maybe it's because they were misinformed. Could be any number of reasons. But I see no reason why it would be a bad thing to make games accessible to a wider variety of players -- players with no interest or intention of ever becoming a "real" gamer. (Again, for the sake of argument, we're assuming that such accessibility wouldn't be coming at a cost to the core players...that games would still deliver the same gameplay for experienced gamers that they always have.)

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:
You asked if we want games to be enjoyed by a wide variety of people.

I don't :\

Ok, I have to ask: why not?

I mean it seems alot of people in the gaming community are focused on "spreading" gaming. I just think the people it appeals too with naturally gravitate towards it. Video games have been around in some form for nearly 40 years, I think most people know what it contains. Not everybody will like everything.

Which doesn't explain why you don't want more people playing games.

Here's the thing -- there are people who are now becoming interested in games who simply never were before. Maybe it's because they simply didn't have much exposure to them, maybe it's because they were busy with other things, maybe it's because they were misinformed. Could be any number of reasons. But I see no reason why it would be a bad thing to make games accessible to a wider variety of players -- players with no interest or intention of ever becoming a "real" gamer. (Again, for the sake of argument, we're assuming that such accessibility wouldn't be coming at a cost to the core players...that games would still deliver the same gameplay for experienced gamers that they always have.)

I didn't mean I am against newcomers, more like "eh I don't care, everyones different".

I mean I will not be pro-active in this cause or anything.

It is really weird how some people are becoming interested in games all of a sudden, I remember I got ridiculed for my gaming obsession all through elementary-highschool. This could be another reason that some people are against the "dumbing down" as they put it, its odd that the thing everyone hated is becoming the thing people love.

I really would like a "what should I be doing now" button though. Or at least a game that explains where you should go. I've played countless games where its like "complete this task" and you complete said task and then just nothing. After reading a walkthrough it turns out you have to talk to "obscure hidden townperson A", how would I know that?

EDITED TWICE FOR SPELLING gahhh I better just stop.

Fredrick2003:

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:
You asked if we want games to be enjoyed by a wide variety of people.

I don't :\

Ok, I have to ask: why not?

I mean it seems alot of people in the gaming community are focused on "spreading" gaming. I just think the people it appeals too with naturally gravitate towards it. Video games have been around in some form for nearly 40 years, I think most people know what it contains. Not everybody will like everything.

Which doesn't explain why you don't want more people playing games.

Here's the thing -- there are people who are now becoming interested in games who simply never were before. Maybe it's because they simply didn't have much exposure to them, maybe it's because they were busy with other things, maybe it's because they were misinformed. Could be any number of reasons. But I see no reason why it would be a bad thing to make games accessible to a wider variety of players -- players with no interest or intention of ever becoming a "real" gamer. (Again, for the sake of argument, we're assuming that such accessibility wouldn't be coming at a cost to the core players...that games would still deliver the same gameplay for experienced gamers that they always have.)

I didn't mean I am against newcomers, more like "eh I don't care, everyones different".

I mean I will not be pro-active in this cause or anything.

It is really weird how some people are becoming interested in games all of a sudden, I remember I got ridiculed for my gaming obsession all through elementary-highschool. This could be another reason that some people are against the "dumbing down" as they put it, its odd that the thing everyone hated is becoming the thing people love.

EDITED TWICE FOR SPELLING gahhh I better just stop.

I was made fun of, too. Still am, from time to time. But remaining isolationist isn't the answer. For example, a woman I used to work with was shocked to discover that I was an avid gamer. "I thought videogames were all misogynistic," she said. Exact quote. I assured her that wasn't the case, and introduced her to some games that, knowing her, I thought she might enjoy. She's certainly not hardcore, but she's found many games that she enjoys a great deal and no longer looks at gaming as a destructive or negative hobby.

I firmly believe that everyone can enjoy gaming if they're simply exposed to it in ways that make sense to them.

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:

Susan Arendt:

Fredrick2003:
You asked if we want games to be enjoyed by a wide variety of people.

I don't :\

Ok, I have to ask: why not?

I mean it seems alot of people in the gaming community are focused on "spreading" gaming. I just think the people it appeals too with naturally gravitate towards it. Video games have been around in some form for nearly 40 years, I think most people know what it contains. Not everybody will like everything.

Which doesn't explain why you don't want more people playing games.

Here's the thing -- there are people who are now becoming interested in games who simply never were before. Maybe it's because they simply didn't have much exposure to them, maybe it's because they were busy with other things, maybe it's because they were misinformed. Could be any number of reasons. But I see no reason why it would be a bad thing to make games accessible to a wider variety of players -- players with no interest or intention of ever becoming a "real" gamer. (Again, for the sake of argument, we're assuming that such accessibility wouldn't be coming at a cost to the core players...that games would still deliver the same gameplay for experienced gamers that they always have.)

I didn't mean I am against newcomers, more like "eh I don't care, everyones different".

I mean I will not be pro-active in this cause or anything.

It is really weird how some people are becoming interested in games all of a sudden, I remember I got ridiculed for my gaming obsession all through elementary-highschool. This could be another reason that some people are against the "dumbing down" as they put it, its odd that the thing everyone hated is becoming the thing people love.

EDITED TWICE FOR SPELLING gahhh I better just stop.

I was made fun of, too. Still am, from time to time. But remaining isolationist isn't the answer. For example, a woman I used to work with was shocked to discover that I was an avid gamer. "I thought videogames were all misogynistic," she said. Exact quote. I assured her that wasn't the case, and introduced her to some games that, knowing her, I thought she might enjoy. She's certainly not hardcore, but she's found many games that she enjoys a great deal and no longer looks at gaming as a destructive or negative hobby.

I firmly believe that everyone can enjoy gaming if they're simply exposed to it in ways that make sense to them.

hmmm...

You know what? You are absolutely correct.

I was being a pretty big a-hole yeah...

Susan Arendt:

I assured her that wasn't the case, and introduced her to some games that, knowing her, I thought she might enjoy.

Which games were those, if I might ask?

Wow, I had no idea I knew so much about video games.

The third idea is excellent and I really like how it was implemented in the remake of Monkey Island. The other two... I'm less a fan of.

The first will make (some) people stop trying and intentionally fail several times just so the invincibility kicks in. I'd suggest an adaptive difficulty instead, making an encounter/event/segment easier with consecutive retries, it's more gradual, might not even be noticed.

The second is ok... until you consider this from an evil designer's point of view, they will go "Wait, I can put in whatever ridiculously unfair and cheap sequence I want and all I have to do is make sure they get to pick between passing it and losing 90% of their cash? Sweet"

Nice read though, and definitely something more developers should try to keep in mind.

These are all great ideas, but none of them would help my dad. I introduced him to Half-Life 2 recently, and his main problem were the doorways.

Whenever he found a doorway, he'd get stuck in it, and spend a lot of time trying to line himself up just perfectly to get through it correctly. What can you do to fix that, movement assist?

I like options 2 and 3, and also the hint part of option one, but invincibility just seems like it could be exploited- if a person really needs invincibility, using a skip would suffice.

This article was brilliant. I enjoyed reading it and the view taken towards new gamers.

I also agree with what was listed. Though instead of going invincible, perhaps a hint menu or - if the game is easy for the sake of being easy - the boss is toned down and easier to kill (or it is harder to kill the new gamer). Gaming is generally about achieving a goal. Even new gamers understand this. If you play tennis, you play to hit the ball past the opponent. If you bowl, you bowl to hit all the pins down. If you play solitaire, you play it so all the cards are gone. Letting gamers effectively jump past an obstacle that is supposed to be the 'win' of that game would remove the sensation of gaming goals.

A game that is too hard for 1 person is better than a game that is too easy for everyone. Most people would prefer a challenge than to just being able to waltz through a game killing everything just by looking at it.

Rayjay06:
I think this a very friendly and nurturing way of handling the casual gamer crowd. However, every one of these ideas have been implemented before and, more often than not, are either completely worthless or unable to be turned off. This trend towards reward for not doing anything is not going to help gamers as a whole. Sure, more people will be able to finish the game, but there is no sense of accomplishment. We're past the age of "Godmode." Let people succeed or fail by their own merits.

Most games don't even have a godmode these days, or even cheats per se.
I don't really care. I pray they don't make games easier.
I'm really looking forward to Demon Soul's. That looks so incredibly hard/fun.

Puddle Jumper:
You're saying that rooks would be to dumb to know that they can combine moves ... yeah, sure xD

Rooks can combine moves? Unless you are talking about castling......ooooh, rook-ie

No, seriously, I thought you were talking about chess. Even amongst gamers there are barriers between the terms we use that can bewilder us, how much more so for someone who isn't in the scene? Of course, you're going to tell me they should do their homework, get walkthroughs and FAQs. BUt I tend to think that misses the point somewhat. There shouldn't be any neede for anything outside of the game manual. Besides, not everyone has the time to do all that, they have jobs, family, responsibilities, other hobbies even. Susan isn't talking about people who want to become hardcore gamers, she's talking about some dude who would like to unwind by zapping a few aliens, but finds it more frustrating than it's worth.

She's not even talking about making the whole game easier, which I notice some people automatically thought of, 'making games accessible means dumbing down the entire game!' What she's on about is making the easy mode (which all games have) geared more toward people new to the game and/or new to gaming as a pastime altogether. You can still have your hard settings, these would disable the helping hands and handicaps that the easy mode gets. Also note that we are talking about single player mode only, I believe that Susan already mentioned that she thinks that giving these handicaps to people in multiplayer is unfair. We can have the best of both worlds.

On the subject of chess though, that game has almost perfect mechanics. It's simple, easy to get into and you can become proficient at chess in a relatively short time. Yet there is always something to learn, and if you want to put in the time you can become quite l33t. Though I haven't played him in a while, I have yet to beat my Opapa at chess. Those are the sorts of mechanics that should translate to video games.

I'll just make my final statement for this thread ^_^ The difficulty of the games are okay as they are today. Although the difference needs to be notable. And without the DMC3 screwup ^^

Because, in the end, all games need are solid and extensive training stages or tutorial stages. Prime examples are:
Half Life. It teaches you to do everything from running to ducking to shooting. And it also gives you some freedom to experiment. Plus it also teaches all the basics you need to know.
Kingdom Hearts has a very deep and helping training that teaches the player practically everything.

However, in order to play these games you still need to be accustomed to the controller and using it. That is where other games come in like family games and casual games. Hell, if I had a kid I'd have them play old school 8-bit games first to get used to handling a controller.

Case in point. My mother plays videogames with me all the time. From Crash Team Racing to Hogs of War to even Tomb Raider on the old PS1. But she didn't play them a lot, but still enough to get used to the controller. And she finished Kingdom Hearts with no problem.

Easy should be easy. But not at the expense of radically changing the gameplay just to fit the needs of people that can't even move and jump at the same time.

Well looks like mediocrity is taking over.

The whole idea of praising crappy gamers for being crappy is stupid. letting them think that they're great is cruel, because eventually their puffed-up egos will be put up against more hardcore gamers, who will beat them, and make them feel worse about themselves. Anyway, these suggestions outlined in the article have already been tried. And they failed. All it does is make the sense of achievement feel hollow.

Also, casual gamers only buy games intermittently, so trying to make games for them is like shooting yourself in the foot. THey won't buy any more games, and it'll scare away the more hardcore gamers who actually hold up the gaming industry. Very bad economic plan.

Oh god yes, I cant even begin to count how many times ive come to after finishing a maelstrom of gore and chaos and just wondered "now what was I doing here again?" or "man who were those guys and why were they SO angry?" or "Woohooo, Now what was my actual objective here again?" A "what am I doing now?" Button would be fucking epic. I really liked fables glowing trail and dead spaces holo projection thing. Man fuck maps, maps are for NERDS.

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